Levy Report Recommends Legalizing Settler Outposts

Iranian Atomic Urgency

A document that appears to be an Iranian position paper indicates Tehran intends to expand its nuclear program. The Times of Israel got its hands on a copy:

Far from indicating Iranian readiness for a suspension or scaling back of its nuclear program, indeed, the document, made available by an informed source on condition of anonymity, includes references to Iran’s expansion plans. “Facing constant threats, we need a back up facility to safeguard our enrichment activities,” it states at one point, when discussing the Fordow enrichment facility, the underground complex built beneath a mountain near Qom where Iran carries out its 20% uranium enrichment.

A later point, related to the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR), refers to the need “for at least 4 other research reactors because of the territorial extent of Iran and the short lifetime of medical isotopes.” The next clause in the document declares an Iranian ambition “to sell fuel complexes to other countries.”

The Saudis are quite pleased with themselves: Mohammed Morsi’s first foreign visit will be to Riyadh. The Jerusalem Post reports that Morsi hasn’t responded to an Iranian invitation to the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran.

Speaking of the NAM summit, Mahmoud Abbas already sent an RSVP to the mullahs. In a multi-polar world where Iran and its Axis of Evil friends might be considered a “bloc,” I found this AFP statement ironic. Or is it just me?

The Non-Aligned Movement is a grouping of nations that consider themselves independent of the world’s major political blocs.

Former Israeli security officials Uzi Arad and Meir Dagan speak out on the Iranian threat.

Arab Spring Winter

•  Watch a Jordanian talk show discussing the Syrian uprising get out of control when a minister of parliament pulls a gun on the activist he was debating. The LA Times writes:

According to local Jordanian media reports, ex-lawmaker Mansour Murad is planning to file charges of attempted murder against Mohammed Shawabka, a member of the Jordan’s parliament, over the incident . . .

The moderator, seen in the middle, seeks to constantly separate his two firebrand guests but appears to lose control over the situation when Shawabka accuses Murad of being a spy for the Syrian government. Murad replies by saying that Shawabka is an Israeli spy and “a mafia thief” who “bought people’s votes.” And then he curses Shawabka’s father.

What do Walt and Mearsheimer have to say about the latest from America’s Arab Lobby?

WikiLeaks: PR Firm Tried to Buff Syria’s Image After Crackdown

Dispatches in The Economist and Asharq al-Awsat indicate the tide is turning against Bashar Assad.

Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass, a member of Assad’s inner circle, became the highest ranking officer to defect. CBS News/AP explains the significance:

As the son of longtime Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass, he was a member of the Syrian Baath Party aristocracy, part of a privileged class that flourished under the Assad dynasty . . .

A member of Syria’s opposition National Council, Hassem Hashimi, described Tlass as a powerful figure in the Assad regime. “The defection of Tlass will encourage a lot of similar people to defect as well,” he told The Associated Press in Paris.

The Christian Science Monitor introduces us to Lebanese Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir. His supporters are blocking a highway in an anti-Hezbollah sit in:

“The imbalance in Lebanon, all the economic problems in Lebanon, all the political problems are a result of the weapons of the Resistance [Hezbollah],” he told the Monitor in an interview. “But every time we raise the subject of the non-state weapons, they accuse us of being [pro-Israel] traitors.”

Sheikh Assir’s populism was summed up by Robert Fisk:

But Assir, a Sunni Muslim who is demanding that Syria’s militia ally Hezballah should hand over all its weapons to the Lebanese state is fast becoming a phenomenon in Lebanon, putting the heebejeebies into the pro-Hezballah government . . .

One sentence from this NY Times op-ed aptly sums up the Christian conundrum of the Arab Spring:

Watching their once-shielding dictators fall like dominos across the region, Christians have suddenly found themselves on the wrong side of history.

Rest O’ the Roundup

Haaretz: Ron Lauder wants to launch an English language Israeli news site.

Mitt Romney

An LA Times staff-ed frets about the Mitt Romney/Benjamin Netanyahu relationship:

We don’t begrudge Romney the political benefits of affirming America’s genuine friendship with Israel. But presidents have to remain independent enough to make their own foreign policy decisions; regardless of what they thought while they were campaigning, they may find that they disagree with Israeli leaders about particular policies, such as the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. In seeking to demonstrate that he is a better friend to Israel than the incumbent, Romney should be mindful of the fact that in the future, a President Romney might find that Israeli and U.S. interests are more than an inch apart.

Hezbollah setting up IDF for another Goldstone.

Clarence Page is getting a letter of reprimand after giving an unauthorized speech to “a full-blown rally for Mujahedeen-e-Khalq.” The Chicago Tribune columnist explains his side of the story.

(Image of Polonium via Wikimedia Commons, Romney via Flickr/Gage Skidmore)

For more, see the previous Israel Daily News Stream.

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